Interview with Spring Awakening star Krysta Rodriguez
Following the news that the Deaf West Theatre cast of Spring Awakening will now definitely be performing at The 70th Annual Tony Awards this weekend, we decided to release a previously recorded interview with one of the show's stars - Krysta Rodriguez.
Krysta's previous Broadway credits include First Date, The Addams Family, In the Heights, A Chorus Line, Good Vibrations and the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening in 2006. She is also well-known for her TV role as Ana Vargas on the Broadway-centric musical series "Smash."
Spring Awakening is nominated in the category of "Best Musical Revival" at this year's Tony Awards. We caught up with Krysta to take a look back at the acclaimed production...
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations for Spring Awakening’s Tony nomination this year. What was the most rewarding experience for you working with Deaf West Theatre?
Krysta Rodriguez: I love Deaf West because for this production I had to learn sign language very quickly. A lot of people had to learn it quickly and then deaf people had to learn how to dance and how to move with rhythm and dynamics. We were all jumping into something we had never done before. Theatre is already a great equaliser. Everyone’s in the building, doing the same thing every day. But on top of that, we had Oscar winners and Emmy winners learning to do something they had never done before and people were making their Broadway debuts. It was just this communal experience of awe. I’ve been in the business for a while and usually I’m like: “I got this. I know how this works.” To not have any idea how this was going to work and to have to make it work together was really special.
THM: To me, in terms of choreography, it just seemed like such an obvious and easy fit to incorporate sign language into the routines and I wondered to myself why I haven’t seen more of this sort of production.
KR: I know, right! I agree and I hope there will be more productions. There was a production that Deaf West did of ‘Big River’ about twelve years ago. So it took twelve years for a new Deaf West show to get to Broadway. I really hope that with the success of ‘Spring Awakening’ will lead to us getting some more deaf talent on Broadway.
THM: I was also a big fan of “Smash” and was wondering what your favourite memories are from those days?
KR: Oh gosh! The best part about that show was definitely those people. Andy Mientus, who was also in ‘Spring Awakening’ with me – we spent a lot of time together. I actually had lunch with Jeremy Jordan today. We’re still very close. I have memories of us shooting until 3am, hunkered down in some apartment as a holding for a while. I remember doing that ‘silk’ number when I was suspended in the air and it was after Hurricane Sandy and we were all pulled together to shoot it. What I really came away with is the friendships as well as the interactions with the people I worked with. That was really special.
THM: If you had the opportunity to be part of the future ‘Bombshell’ musical, would you be interested?
KR: Yes. They did a concert of all the music, but Andy and I couldn’t do it because we were doing ‘Spring Awakening’ in LA. If there was ever a chance to do it… or ‘Hitlist’!
THM: Bombshell vs Hitlist?
KR: Ooh Bombshell vs Hitlist! We could have them on at theatres across the street from each other… No, I know who would win that war. ‘Bombshell’ is the bigger show. It’s the commercial hit and it won the Tony in “Smash.”
THM: Speaking of which, do you know if ‘Spring Awakening’ will be making an appearance at the Tonys yet?
KR: We have no idea. We’re not even sure if we’re going to be able to perform. This is a little-known fact, so I’d like to educate the audience. The productions have to pay to perform on the Tonys. They don’t invite people to perform. Most people don’t know that and I always like to inform them in case they get upset about what gets chosen. So the point is that our show isn’t running right now and we’re all off all over the country. So if they can get the funds to be able to perform and they can gather us all together, then we’re gonna try and do it. Hopefully we’ll be able to.
THM: Did you get a chance to see any of the other musical revivals who you are up against in your category?
KR: I did! I saw ‘She Loves Me’ starring Zachary Levi, who I did ‘First Date’ with. I saw ‘The Color Purple,’ which was remarkable, and I also saw ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ So, I guess I’ve seen them all, right?
THM: Yes, and you guys are the fourth nomination. So that’s everybody. Apart from ‘Spring Awakening,’ what is your pick to win?
KR: Ooh my goodness. I think the revival of ‘The Color Purple’ was something really spectacular. It was so different from the original production and I like that. The other two shows are beautiful and solid productions, but ‘The Color Purple’ felt more like a complete re-invention of something, so that was more interesting… But of couse, ‘Spring Awakening’ would be my Number 1 pick! I had to get that in there.